How to avoid “any port in a storm” style recruitment

Is it possible to believe you are in the middle of a storm when in fact you are cruising serenely...

Andy Bristow
Andy Bristow
4 min read Reading Time
20 January 2021 Date Created

Is it possible to believe you are in the middle of a storm when in fact you are cruising serenely and dining at the captain’s table without realising it? Literally speaking clearly not, but as a metaphor for job seekers in IT it’s pretty accurate.

As we’ve written previously, some sectors of the IT market are experiencing cyclical adjustment and there will be some who leave the IT sector permanently, however for most skilled IT professionals opportunities to change roles are plentiful. By whichever metric you choose to measure December was our busiest month since the last financial year and January looks equally hectic.

The barrage of negativity we’ve all been faced in 2020 has instilled a sense of fear in candidates coming on to the market which has thrown up some new potential challenges for hirers and jobseekers. Those who find themselves looking for work are having to think about how to approach this, do they take anything IT or otherwise just to get back into work? Do they apply for every half suitable role within a hundred miles or do they cherry-pick opportunities and risk being out of work for a while?


Opting for the “any port in a storm” strategy is rarely successful.

If hirers believing they are getting a permanent solution when candidates are treating a role as a stop-gap then trouble awaits in the form of wasted time, money and damage to existing teams.  Even if loyalty inspired by gratitude is sincere initially, when the panic has faded and the market is active that team member you hired at a very competitive rate a few months ago will soon need to be replaced just as they were becoming useful.

So what do we need to think about when hiring or job seeking in this climate?

For candidates, everyone will react differently depending on individual personalities but my advice is this; if you have to take alternative temporary work to make ends meet make sure you build into your budget taking time off to attend new interviews, lest you get stuck in your “temporary” role.  Whether you are doing something else or not, be selective and serious about the roles you apply for, take the process seriously and only give your time to businesses that treat you seriously in return. Don’t entertain companies that are slack in their communication, slow to progress applications or incoherent in their messaging or presentation.

For hirers, if you’ve identified an immediately available candidate then move quickly and with purpose but don’t rush as it’s still important to run a thorough process, the very act of engaging with your process is a good indicator of a candidates commitment. Be wary if previous salaries were higher and ask yourself “could I attract this candidate and would they be interested in working for me under normal circumstances?” If the answer is yes then do everything you can to sell your opportunity and make it shine above all the others and secure your first choice.

As a business that helps hirers navigate these shifting landscapes, we know that each individual candidate will have circumstances unique to them and that this will guide their job-seeking approach. This is the point where an experienced and empathetic guiding hand can rule out bad matches quickly and make good matches that will last happen. For more support or guidance from the team at Bristow Holland, get in touch today.